The skilled staff at High Point Equestrian Enterprises trots out its national competitive jumping and showing experience to guide new and advanced riders along the trail of horseback riding. Centered around the english riding discipline, lessons begin with an orientation that helps to assess student skills and determine appropriate goals, such as walking, cantering, jumping, showing, and becoming the first jockey in space. Complimentary practice helmets, saddles, bridles, and saddle pads protect riders as they embark on an equestrian journey with High Point's safe and gentle learning horses—specially-fed a diet of soft cotton and baby dreams—who patiently help beginners learn the basics of horse preparation and steering. More advanced riders will learn to master proper positions and methods of working and communicating with horses. All classes are held at The Paddock, which boasts a heated indoor arena, replete with gravity harnesses deployed in the event of adverse weather conditions.
A shimmering butterfly hovers suspended in a pink glass teardrop. Glass bands wind around each other like ribbons of pulled taffy to form a glass icicle. Intricate and distinct, the glass artwork at Indianola Glass Creations reflects the diverse specialties of the shops’ glassworkers. Shop partner and lampwork instructor Bobbi Oelmann says it’s this versatility that first drew her to the medium. On any given day, you can find her and her fellow artists slumping glass in the shop’s kiln, blowing glass in the torch room, or meticulously cutting panes of stained glass into adorable geometric shapes. Artists can easily customize these glass pieces to suit customers’ specifications—they create earrings to match a prized pendant, for instance, or fire custom-blown glass ornaments.
Artists not only sell their artwork and jewelry, but empower budding artists to create their own one-of-a-kind creations with weekly classes. Groups of 3–10 students may learn to turn glass rods into beads during a lampworking class, or piece together a stained-glass ornament. To ensure a positive experience, Ms. Oelmann says that instructors strive to get to know each student and his or her goals for the class: “We want them to enjoy it just as much as we do.”
For sisters Molly Sivertsen and Stephanie Becker, fitness is not just about looking good in a swimsuit, it is a way of life. Impassioned by a lifelong dedication to staying in shape, they honed their knowledge and skills as fitness instructors for two years before debuting their own haven for health, Fusion Fitness, in 2008. Members wave a pass card 24/7 to access the gym's treasure trove of cardio and weight equipment. Classes span a spectrum of workouts, from the focused flow of yoga to the rapid undulations of Zumba. The Silver Sneakers class blends strength training and aerobics into a single session that blasts calories and boosts cardiovascular endurance without straining joints. As they workout, patrons can leave their young under staff supervision in daycare center or children's fitness classes.
Personal trainers and nutrition counselors tackle health issues one by one, designing fitness plans tailored to each patron's needs. They escort clients on grocery store trips, pointing out which foods make nutritious ingredients for healthy meals and which make the best ammo during food fights with former bullies.
Open for just one month every autumn, The Pumpkin Ranch seems more like a scene from a child’s dream than a family-run business. But that’s the way the Handsaker family planned it, hoping to create a family-friendly hub that celebrated their love of all things autumn. They began by cultivating their 9-acre cornfield into a complex maze, incorporating 12 checkpoints that make sure guests are on the right path and offer clues to the ranch’s Farm Scene Investigation mystery. Alongside the maze, the Handsakers have built up a 10-acre patch of pumpkins and gourds, where squashy specimens wait to be carved into jack-o’-lanterns or stomped into wine.
The hayrack ride transports guests to and fro on the ranch, speeding up walks so guests can spend more time reveling in the play zone’s bounce houses, climbable straw bales, and tire towers. For more exhilarating pastimes, the ranch offers tennis-ball launchers that send the bright orbs soaring at water-based targets, exhilarating zipline courses, and fire pits to warm up chilly fall afternoons. Inside the concession stand, staffers sell steamy cups of specialty ciders and hot chocolate alongside homemade baked goods, giving guests a taste of fall, and outside, vendors serve up larger bites such as grilled and smoked meat to fuel the outdoor fun.
Pleasantville Golf & Country Club's nine-hole course blankets the Marion County countryside with a circuit of tree-lined fairways. Originally opened in 1965, the course boasts the trademarks of a mature layout, with well-defined greens, tall timbers, and fairways that are starting to show flecks of gray. The semiprivate club also encompasses an outdoor swimming pool and Bogey's, a grill with a full-service bar and a menu of sandwiches, burgers, and other casual eats.: